Let’s face it; some days, you just want to get out of the city. So you pack your sandwich in your backpack, lace up your hiking boots, fill up your water bottle, and you are off. These hiking spots in Fairfax is perfect when the weather turns colder, drier, and autumn foliage puts on a show.
Moreover, warmer months and sunny days bring more opportunities to take a much-needed breath of fresh air. Whether you seek a peaceful nature walk or eager to take on a challenging climb, here are some of the best hiking spots across Fairfax worth heading to the hills for.
1. Potomac Hike – Riverbend to Great Falls Park
Hike Riverbend Park to Great Falls Park and enjoy a 3 mile trip along the beautiful Potomac River. Further, you can stop at the Riverbend and Great Falls visitor centers to learn about the heritage and geology of your hike.
Additionally, you can hike around this trail with families as well, and this makes it one of the best hiking spots in Fairfax. However, the trail may be closed after heavy rain or when the Potomac river level is high.
2. Mason Neck State Park
The only state park in Fairfax County, Mason Neck, offers great hiking trails with bay, woods, and marsh views. Additionally, it is an excellent spot for fall hikes in Northern Virginia. Besides, the easy quarter-mile Marsh View Trails is ideal for young and old as well.
A passable 2-mile hike to Kane’s creek provides a bit more challenge that ends up in a bird blind that overlooks the marsh. If time allows, you can also walk 3/4 mile Great Marsh Trail that is accessible from the Gunston Road.
You can find Mason Neck State Park at: 7301 High Point Rd, Lorton, VA 22079. Click here for directions.
3. Manassas National Battlefield
Crisp fall days are most suitable for hiking the open fields of Manassas. Further, here you can immerse yourself in the history of two important Civil War battles. You can hike the 5-mile Manassas loop or choose a shorter hike from the Visitor Center to the Old Stone Bridge.
Contrarily, it isn’t the most colorful hike, but the open fields look lovely in Autumn. At the same time, after your hike, you can stop at the nearby Winery.
4. Lake Burke Loop Trail
The largest lake in Fairfax, Burke Lake, is an excellent destination for boating, fishing, and, most importantly, hiking. Additionally, the 5-mile trail that circles the lake is a great Nova hike in any season.
Moreover, Lake Burke is a family-oriented hike with lots of opportunities to watch birds, turtles, and frogs. Apart from this, a part of Burke lake is also accessible for strollers.
You can find Lake Burke Loop Trail at: Springfield, VA 22039. Click here for directions.
5. Sky Meadows State Park
Sky Meadows State Park is another favorite hiking spot near Fairfax. Open fields, wooden hills, and mesmerizing views are what one can see during the fall. Apart from this, you can enjoy a 4-mile loop hike that ends with a gorgeous valley view.
Further, the park includes 17 miles of trails, a segment of the Appalachian trail, and a 1-mile interpretative trail, which means you are free to choose your level of difficulty. Al last, you can see the building of Tysons Corner from the brewery.
You can find Sky Meadows State Park at: 11012 Edmonds Ln, Delaplane, VA 20144. Click here for directions.
6. Seneca Park
In Seneca Park, you can enjoy a walk in the woods with the Potomac River. Seneca Park offers beautifully wooded trails that are perfect for enjoying a hike.
However, the riverside trail can be muddy or sometimes impassable after rains. Interestingly, Seneca Park is accessible from Turkey Run park, which is closer to Washington DC.
You can find Seneca Park at: 101 Seneca Rd, Great Falls, VA 22066. Click here for directions.
7. Scotts Run Nature Preserve Loop Hike
The Scotts Run Nature Preserve includes a cliffside view, a scenic waterfall, and a moderately challenging stretch of Potomac Heritage Trail in McLean. This 3-mile loop begins at the eastern parking area and follows wooded trails down the river.
You will notice, the trail becomes steeper and rocky on a narrow section of Potomac Heritage Trail, which makes it tricky to navigate. So make sure to stop by the Scotts Run Waterfall before climbing and return to the parking area.
You can find Scotts Run Loop Hike at: 7400 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22102. Click here for directions.
8. Great Falls Loop Hike
3-mile Great Falls Loop Hike takes you beside Difficult Run, up along a ridge and down the Potomac River. This way, you can experience a less-visited Southeastern side of Great Falls as well.
This loop hike follows portions of Fairfax Cross County trail and the Potomac Heritage Trail that covers paths both inside and outside. Besides, this trail passes through the pretty woods along Difficult Run and then enters the eastern side of Great Falls Park.
You can find Great Falls Loop Hike at: 9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102. Click here for directions.